The West Bengal Urdu Academy celebrates 200 years of Urdu journalism

By Dr. Muzafar Naznain
Dr. Muzafar Naznain

A three days program was organized by West Bengal Urdu Academy to celebrate 200 years of Urdu journalism in India, commemorating the publication of Jam e Jahan Numa.

Kolkata is a great educational hub in India. It’s the pride of Kolkata that Urdu, English, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, and Persian language newspapers are published in this city of Joy.

The first Urdu-language newspaper “Jam e Jahan Numa” was first published on 27 March 1822.
No.2 Colotolla Street is in the heart of the bustling marketplace in Central Calcutta and is not very far from Lower Chitpore.

There is a narrow lane adjacent to Colotolla called Harin Bari Lane which is my birthplace.

It’s a coincidence that my birthplace and the place where the first Urdu newspaper was published were located in the vicinity and could be next door to each other.

NA shop that sells colorful plastic sheets happened to be the spot where the first Urdu newspaper of the world ” Jam e Jahan Numa” was published on March 27,1822.

The publisher was a Bengali, Harihar Dutta, and the editor was Munshi Sadasukhlal, a Punjabi.

The printer was William Hopkins, a British Sahib. Dutta was the son of Tarachand, a journalist and the co-founder of Sambad Kaumudi, a Bengali weekly newspaper that was published by Rammohun Roy in 1819. The purpose behind that publication was to actively campaign for the abolition of Sati.

Today not far from No 2 Colotolla Street is Tara Chand Dutta Street, a narrow lane off Rabindra Sarani ( the erstwhile Lower Chitpore Street).

Harihar’s name, however, is all but forgotten. All we know about him is that he was an employee of the East India Company and had a keen interest in journalism.

There were a series of seminars and meetings in Kolkata, Asansol, and Islampur (Uttar Dinajpur).

Definitely, we can say Calcutta( Now Kolkata) is the cradle of journalism in the Indian subcontinent.

The following journalists were felicitated for their remarkable contributions in the field of journalism over years.

Shri Pursun Gupta(Bengali), Shri Beshambar Mewar(Hindi), Shri Tamal Saha(English), Janab Md Wasimul Haque( editor “Akhbar e Mashriq, Kolkata), Janab Rasheed Makhdoomi(editor Kashmir Uzma), Janab Shahid Latif(editor Inquilab”), Janab Zahid Ali Khan(editor Siyasat), Janab S M Ashraf Fareed(editor, Qaumi Tanzeem), Janab Masoom MuradabadiJanab Pervez Hafiz.

The three days “Jashn e Jam e Jahan Numa” programs have been completed on 26th May 2022 with flying colors.

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